Lately the idea/role/pursuit of authenticity has been on my mind. Like what is the relationship between spectacle and authenticity and what do we (as individuals, as a culture) value more? Or, what do we say we value versus how we behave? And then, how does this relate to creative acts? I’m speaking in the abstract here. But think about, say, design firms who position themselves as Green or Sustainable. In what ways? Is it enough to use buzz words? How do we determine the extent to which they are actually behaving in sustainable ways? (I’m using this example because of some eco-critical texts I recently read (for instance, Rebecca Solnit’s essay All the Corners are Alive, from this book).
So I think I’ll begin an irregular, open-ended series on Authenticity. And to begin, let’s link to some discussion going on over at Essay Daily. This semester, two classes (one led by Ander Monson in Arizona, one by John D’Agata in Iowa) are reviewing essays nominated for the Essay Prize. And a week or two ago they looked at that video by the Gregory Brothers, Bed Intruder. I’m not linking to it because I found it deeply problematic in ways too lengthy to talk about here (email me). But the Autotune above by writer/thinker Daisy Pitkin and a conversation with her led to the questions: what happens when spectacle becomes [a replacement for the] authentic? Has it always been? What does authentic even mean?
Anyway, these are just some questions I’ve been mulling over. Next time, I’ll go into a more interrogated discussion. At the very least, listen to this super badass essay/song written by Daisy.